Table Manners a Delicate Subject?
Table manners, the lack of or the enforcement of them, can greatly affect children's present and future diet and nutrition as well as their social and/or business standing later on. It's not a subject to be taken lightly.
What is it that classifies table manners as good or bad? Here's a primary rule:
I remember in Readers' Digest many years ago a tale about some official from a less advantaged and isolated country, invited to a state dinner, who upon being served the soup course picked up his soup plate and noisily slurped it. Horrified eyes turned on the offender, upon which the host - I think it was a former President or Ambassador of the USA - promptly picked his plate up and slurped even more loudly, thereby putting the guest at ease. This is a true (although extreme) case of "good manners".
We would all like our children and grandchildren to have nice table manners, but the way they are taught and enforced can have a good or a bad (maybe dangerously bad) effect on the child's nutrition and psyche. When children are tense at the table, they are unable to learn to like most strange foods, their little stomachs tense up so they cannot eat as much, and they probably don't absorb and utilize some important nutrients as well. The groundwork may also be laid for dangerous eating disorders later on, such as obesity, anorexia or bulimia.
Read Sneaky Kitchen's Ten Commandments for accomplishing good table manners.
The most important advice is to make sure you don't display "bad manners" in the process of correcting and teaching your children, and to remember that while good manners are indeed vital, children's health and happiness are the most important of all.